If women and men around the world participated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP would rise up to six percent, boosting the global economy by up to US$5 trillion, according to Boston Consulting Group.
Which raises the question: how can we further support entrepreneurial women? The answer: by continuing to improve women’s access to credit, providing training for women to build new skills and giving women better access to professional and social networks.
Some countries, however, including the Philippines, are already making major strides towards gender parity in entrepreneurship. In 2016, the Philippines—alongside Mexico, Vietnam and Indonesia—had more women than men launching new businesses. In 2018 the country was classed as the ninth best globally for female entrepreneurs, and in 2019 it scored 81.25, well above the average of 74.71, in the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law Index.
From the CEO of a private equity firm to the founder of a cosmetics company, here are five women entrepreneurs from the Philippines making gender equality a reality.
At 19 years old, Mica Tan decided she was going to start her own business. Fast forward eight years and Tan, now 27, has done exactly that: she co-founded a private equity firm, MFT Group, of which she is the CEO, that operates in nine countries and 18 cities worldwide, and has assets of more than US$61 million. Tan was also won the Most Influential Filipina Award from the Filipina Women’s Network in 2019.
President of Terry SA, a popular Philippine fashion and lifestyle retail distribution company, Anne Arcenas-Gonzalez is often referred to as the “flip-flop queen,” as her company is best known for distributing mega-brand Havaianas. Terry SA employs more than 300 people, has a presence in three countries and distributes a variety of other brands, including Aura Athletica. Arcenas-Gonzalez also owns CommonThread, a store offering Filipino and global brands, as well as Thread 365, a line of basic tees she created.
Angeline Tham has found a viable solution to Manila’s notoriously heavy traffic: motorbikes. She is the founder and CEO of motorcycle taxi service app Angkas, which has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times and boasts an impeccable, 99.99 percent safety record. Tham is working on expanding Angkas by offering free training to drivers and starting the Philippines’ first motorcycle ambulance.
Abba Napa co-founded The Moment Group, which owns a portfolio of restaurants and bars in the Philippines including Mo’ Cookies, Phát Pho, Ooma, Manam, Mecha Uma and Bank Bar, as well as well as importing Taiwan’s Michelin-rated Din Tai Fung. Napa also sits on the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines’ Next Generation Council, where she has helped to create the forthcoming Sustainability Solutions Expo, highlighting the latest food-related solutions and technologies.
Rissa Mananquil Trillo
In 2013 Rissa Mananquil Trillo co-founded popular cosmetics brand Happy Skin, known for innovative makeup that focuses on caring for users’ skin. Happy Skin has 13 stores and almost 100 beauty counters in the Philippines, and has won 30 beauty awards, including Most Promising New Cosmetic Brand from Watsons Philippines.
Women on the Rise: Shattering Glass Ceilings and Leading the Innovation Charge
Across the globe, women are increasingly stepping into the spotlight as entrepreneurs, driving economic growth and innovation in diverse fields. From tech startups to sustainable fashion brands, from community cafes to groundbreaking biotechnology ventures, women are leading the charge, defying outdated stereotypes and carving their own unique paths to success.
Breaking Barriers, Building Businesses:
The number of women-owned businesses is on the rise globally, with statistics showing a significant increase in recent years. This surge is driven by various factors, including increased access to education and resources, growing awareness of gender equality, and a shift in societal attitudes towards female entrepreneurship.
However, despite the progress, challenges remain. Women entrepreneurs often face barriers such as access to funding, mentorship, and networks compared to their male counterparts. Additionally, unconscious bias and societal expectations can create hurdles for women seeking to break into male-dominated industries.
Shattering Stereotypes, Inspiring Change:
Despite these challenges, countless inspiring women are overcoming obstacles and achieving remarkable success. From household names like Sheryl Sandberg and Oprah Winfrey to countless local heroines building businesses in their communities, women are demonstrating their leadership, resilience, and innovative spirit.
These trailblazers are not only building successful businesses but also inspiring the next generation of female entrepreneurs. By sharing their stories, offering mentorship, and advocating for change, they are paving the way for a future where women have equal opportunities to thrive in the business world.
The Impact of Women-Led Businesses:
The rise of women entrepreneurship has a significant positive impact on society as a whole. Studies show that women-owned businesses tend to reinvest a larger portion of their profits back into their communities, create more jobs, and promote sustainable practices. Additionally, diverse leadership fosters innovation and leads to better decision-making within companies.
Looking Ahead: A Brighter Future for Women in Business:
The future of entrepreneurship is undoubtedly bright for women. With continued progress in addressing gender bias, providing access to resources, and celebrating the achievements of successful women entrepreneurs, we can create a world where women have the freedom and support to turn their dreams into thriving businesses.